There’s been a lot of debate about how India will go into the World Cup, but it’s the nation’s bench strength rather than their playing XI that is prompting these uncertain questions.
It would be cruel and unfair to rub Peter Handscomb out of cricket without giving him a chance to redeem himself.
Handscomb should have one nets session to mend his ways – that’s fair – or else.
The ‘ or else’ should be an immediate six-month ban.
While cricket gets itself in a fluff about Faf du Plessis’s sticking his finger in his mouth and allegedly up at the game’s sense of fair play, Handscomb has committed far worse than the South African captain’s supposed sin.
Has there ever been a bigger ‘up yours’ to the game’s tradition and standing than Handscomb’s standing at the crease, bat raised upright, baseball-fashion, and with the face pointing towards point.
Look and weep, before looking away.
At the very least, an independent inquiry should be launched into how Handscomb was allowed to gain a baggy green cap, and stern warnings issued.
Golf allowed its own scandal, in the form of the long putter, to darken the game for decades before it outlawed the wretched instrument.
Australia’s Peter Thomson was only one who had long campaigned for the implement’s outlawing, arguing its use wasn’t a golf stroke.
Well, what Handscomb is doing isn’t cricket.
It wasn’t cricket – it was an unsavoury sight – when Tony Greig raised his bat in futile defiance against the approaching Dennis Lille and Jeff Thomson in 1974-75.
Such a stance still isn’t, but there is room for flexibility in cricket, unlike with the golf putter.
Greig was a tall man – six feet seven inches in the old money.
As a compromise, batsman more than 200cm should be allowed to await the bowler, bat raised, as long it isn’t raised above the knee.
And it would be mean-spirited to dole out retrospective punishments, like expunging former England opener and bat-raiser Graham Gooch from the record books.
Gooch might have reached lofty heights Greig didn’t as a batsman, but he wasn’t as tall and is more responsible than anyone for this modern curse raising its head.
He can be forgiven and no doubt knew not what he was starting, but no such forgiveness for the modern wreckers.
It’s more than time, it’s overdue to hit this outrage for six.
Handscomb can have his net session to atone and if not, he’s out.
Ditto for the likes of England’s Joe Root and Johnny Bairstow.
Steve Smith can have a special exemption. Smith’s style is unique and after taking guard he bangs, not taps, the bat on the crease as the bowler approaches.
For the rest, the words of the late, great Sid Barnes apply.
In reference to the long-ago John Benaud boots controversy Barnes wrote: “If it was good enough for Bradman, it’s good enough for these Joes.”